Poem for a friend

Sometimes Brigid has me write poems for specific purposes, or for specific people.  This is one of the latter cases; a good friend who is also one of Her children is going through some rough health issues, and found out that there is a deeper level of work going on…

Hammer and Anvil

Lady, never let me forget that
Your flame is not solely set in the
Heads of poets, or lies within the coals
Wakened from last night’s smooring to
Joy on the hearth.  It also dwells in
Your forge- trying our metal, forcing it
To glow red to yellow to white to
Be seized and beaten, spark-showering
On Your anvil.  As You hammer, I only ask:
Make pure my steel,
Make true my blade,
Make keen my edge,
And grant me, in Your mercy,
Quenching in Your well.
Advertisements

Poem: Note for the journey

Note for the journey

When you are drawn down that hungry well,
That tunnel, bored through cruel stone,
And your eyes, straining through the blindfold dark,
Desperate for the least glimmer or phantasm,
Catch a firelight-flicker on the edge of sight,
Only to realize it sparks and glows, relentless
From the eternal flame that heats change’s cauldron-
Remember that the skeleton of the flower
Shall be fleshed out in petals of heart-flame,
And you shall rise from the furnace, purified,
Alchemized into the truest gold.

05/27/2007

Guest post: Prayer to Brigid for Peace in These Times

By Tirani Realta, a fellow child of Brigid:

Prayer to Brigid for Peace in These Times

Oh Holy Brigid, hear my prayer,
Oh Exalted One, hear my prayer,

Mother of the Hearth-fire, hear my prayer,
lay Your hand up those who fear for their lives,
and fear others different from them,
and those that fear retribution,
and bring the peace of Your gentle flame to them, so that their hearts and eyes may open.

Master of the Forge of Creation, hear my prayer,
lay Your hand upon those who work for justice,
and those that fight for peace and equality,
and those who stand watch over them upholding their oath,
and lend Your mighty strength to them, so they may do their work well and with honor.

Keeper of the Flame of Inspiration, hear my prayer,
lay Your hand upon those who turn away,
and those who cannot find a way to help,
and those who struggle to bring our feuding kith together,
and bless them with Your creative ways, that they may find the path to peace and equality.

Mistress of the Healing Well, hear my prayer,
lay Your hand upon those who mourn their beloved dead,
and those who are wounded in heart and soul by the division of our kith,
and who have been injured in body and mind by the struggle for equality,
and pour out Your healing waters on them, that their sorrow be gentle and healing begin.

First to Mourn, Keener of the Dead, hear my prayer,
lament the fallen who have died only because of the color of their skin,
and lament the fallen who have died only for the oath they swore to protect and serve,
and lament the fallen who have died protesting injustice and opening eyes to inequality,
Cry out their names through all the worlds, that the fallen may be honored by Your Voice.

Oh Holy Brigid, lay Your green mantle over our nation,
that we may come together in peace, and healing, and love,
and that we may number our injustices and find ways to mend them,
and that we may walk together as one people into a brighter future.

Oh Flaming Arrow, hear my prayer,
Oh Shining One, hear my prayer,
Great Mother Brigid, hear my prayer,
Amen.

(click on Tirani’s name above or here for her FB post containing the poem and note)

A Prayer for my Divided Nation

From his lips to the Gods’ ears…

facingthefireswithin

Things are looking dark right now, and many friends feel that.  I have seen swirling anger at levels that I cannot remember before and friends deeply divided in many directions.  Rage and violence are in many places. I fear I may lose friends as well.  In meditation this morning, and after, I wrote this:

Hail Heimdall! Help those who must keep the watch and remind them to do it well as well as to remember ALL of their duties.

Hail Hermod! Let those who must bear the memories and stories of the dead be inspired to carry that duty well.

Hail Tyr! Remind us that Rage, even Righteous Rage, can be the Fire that engulfs us all. “For Fenris must be chained, or Chaos will be King!”

Hail Freya! Remind us that the Passions we all bear do us credit, but can sometimes go too far.  I call on you…

View original post 33 more words

Please Sign this Petition

Lukumi elder Oba Pichardo, whose case against the city of Hialeah, FL led to a landmark Supreme Court decision, is circulating a petition asking for action from Federal, state and local officials asking them to investigate and stop actions aimed at shutting down the practice of animal sacrifice.  This is a practice central and sacred to many religions, and the attempts to stop it are religious persecution.  Furthermore, this is a wedge issue that is often used to discriminate against minority faiths by officials who are racists, religious bigots, or corrupt.  It isn’t just a problem in Florida- the persecution and extremist activities described in the petition are ongoing in many states, and also in other countries.

Even if your religion, tradition or path doesn’t practice sacrifice, this is important- minority religions are subject to ongoing harassment and persecution of all kinds.  We’ve gained ground, but we still have to defend our First Amendment rights.  The extremists are targeting more mainstream faiths, too- some of their actions are aimed at halal and kosher butchers, for example.

I support humane treatment of animals, and I hope you do, too.  But I don’t support shrill extremists who want to force their parareligious doctrine on the rest of humanity.

Prayer to Brigid

Your hands on mine, Your flame surrounding me,
I ache with the sunlit joy of Your presence.
Bright Star of the Morning, teach me to be still,
To be steady, to faintly follow Your path
Heralding the dawn, drawing up the sun
From the gentle mantle of the night.
Let me find the ways to be aidful in places
Of pain, whether strength of arm or back or will
Is needed; or instead (deceptively simple) to be
Silent, calm, standing there steadfast,
A guidepost, a mirror, a warm hand in darkness
Or cool water from the well on lips or brow.

Ezili Freda

Disclaimer: I’m not a vodouisant. My experiences with the lwa have been primarily in the context of Global Spirits ceremonies. Anything I say in this post is based on those experiences and on UPG, and is only tangentially relevant at most to Haitian Vodou practice or belief.

Ezili Freda is a lwa concerned with love, beauty, abundance, the feminine, and many other things. She has been part of my spiritual life for some years now (how this happened is a subject for another post), and when she shows up at UToS services, she almost always interacts with me.

Anyone who knows me should not be surprised that I wrote a poem for her:

Freda

Surrounded by a thousand splendors, she weeps
(Heart stabbed with a jeweled dagger),
And all the riches we heap at her feet
Cannot hold back the storm. Not so much
For what we offer (or how we fall short)
But for what is not- all the lost gems,
Sparkling teardrops, moments and hours,
Caresses and words that never manifest;
Beauty or truth or love withered or unspoken,
The wonder that could be, if only, if only…
That is enough reason to fill each hot salt drop,
Yet her heart breaks, too, for us-
Our turned backs, closed eyes, shuttered hearts.
She sees, in vivid, almost painful glow,
The true wonder we mostly miss. Her tears fall
For herself, for the world- and for us.

9/30/2009

A common aspect of a Freda possession, if it goes on long enough, is that she begins to weep, to sob inconsolably, as if her heart is breaking. I’ve seen it, and it is truly affecting… It’s that sort of crying that makes you want to do anything to make it better, to make her feel better. But you can’t. Nothing can stop the tears, and she sobs until the possession ends.

One meaning of this is that nothing is ever good enough for her, that she wants a perfection we can’t achieve. The goalposts keep moving. The last time this happened at a ceremony, I had a sudden realization: this is similar to the way I feel when dealing with my beloved’s depression- I can’t fix it, I can’t help. We had been going through a particularly bad patch around that time, and the revelation broke me for a bit. Freda saw this, and immediately shifted gears; she held me and comforted me while I cried, and somehow it was better. I have learned now that I can call on her to help me when I’m backed into that sort of corner.

For me, there’s also what I was trying to say in the poem- that she is weeping for all the love and beauty that never makes it, or that we miss because “the world is too much with us”. And there is another important lesson here:

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

If we get bound up with making every last detail exactly right before we do something, we may never do anything. If we get hung up on everything being photo-realistically the way we planned it, we will not be ready when the inevitable randomness of the world intrudes. If we try to control all our experience, we will distort it. And in the end, we will end up weeping in the midst of riches that we can’t see through our tears.

The secret is to do. Get everything as lined up and prepared as you can, certainly; do the best that you are capable of doing, absolutely. Push outside your comfort zone- “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp — or what’s a heaven for?” But at some point you need to say “Enough”- to go ahead, and trust in the spirits and in your path, and accept the downpour and the falling petals as part of the whole. And always, always, remember why you are doing what you do.

And because we, the lwa (and all the Powers), and spiritual truth itself are all multiple and multifaceted, all three of the above interpretations (and many more) are all real and right at the same time. Isn’t that beautiful?

Aye Ezili Freda! Ayibobo!

Previous Older Entries